What message of advice might you give to a person inexperienced in managing a team so that they can meet expectations of creating a high-performance team?
While surfing the Internet, you encounter this note posted in your favorite discussion group: “Help! I have just been assigned to head a new product design team at my company. The division manager has high expectations for the team and me, but I have been a technical design engineer for four years since graduating from college. I have never ‘managed’ anyone, let alone led a team. The manager keeps talking about her confidence that I will create a ‘high-performance team.’ Does anyone out there have any tips to help me master this challenge? Help! [signed] Galahad.” As a good citizen of the Internet, you decide to answer.
I think that one of the most primary messages that needs to be communicated in this setting is the idea that this situation presents an opportunity for greatness. The ability to work with a team to accomplish work in the realm of product design can turn out to be an excellent opportunity.
The notion of assembling a team is nothing to fear. On the whole, the "common denominator of organizational change" is the transition to a team setting in the workplace. It is understood that "employees will best respond (be productive) when they have a high feeling of self-worth and of identification with the success of the organization," a sensibility that results from working within a team unit. Their individual efforts can be channeled into a unit in which success can be collectivized. Finally, the role of the manager is more of a facilitator of ensuring that individual talents are maximized in the collective setting. It is for this reason that I don't see the worry in this as Galahad might. The reality is that in being a team leader, one is a facilitator and not having to take on the work of more people. This is where success might be evident.
The most critical element to relay is that Galahad needs to have a clear articulation with the division manager. There needs to be articulation as to what talents are needed on the team and how selection can be done to ensure that the most talented of individuals are featured on the team. Objectives need to be clearly relayed from the division manager to Galahad so that these can be effectively communicated with the team members. One of the reasons teams fail is because team members do not clearly understand expectations. Part of Galahad's fear can be allayed with effective articulation and understanding with the division manager and communicating this with team members.